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Special needs

How to find the best specialists for a kid with autism

Working with a great speech-language pathologist or occupational therapist will give your child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) the best possible outcomes. Here’s what to ask potential therapists.

How to find the best specialists for a kid with autism

Photo: iStockphoto

Getting the right speech-language pathologist or occupational therapist on board to help with speech and motor skills is crucial. They need to have the right qualifications as well as an approach and temperament that works for your child. Here’s a checklist of questions to ask therapists you’re considering to work with your autistic child.

1. What are your credentials and experience, particularly when it comes to dealing with children on the autism spectrum?(In the case of a prospective occupational therapist, ask if they are paediatric-trained.)

2. How has your training been updated and enhanced in recent years?

3. What approach will you be taking? Are you familiar with treatments like applied behaviour analysis?

4. Is your treatment play-based and functional or a more structured training?

5. May I observe my child interacting with you? (It’s essential to be able to judge whether your child has a rapport with a therapist.)

6. How collaborative will you be? Are you open to working with other members of my child’s treatment team?

7. What will be the frequency of visits?

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8. Do you work out of an office or a clinic? Or are you prepared to come to my home, or my child’s daycare or school?

9. What is the model of service delivery? (If the treatment is private, be sure to ask about additional fees. For example, if the therapist comes to your home, will you be charged for travel time?)

10. What will my involvement as a parent look like?

11. What kind of training will I receive?

12. What will homework look like for me and my child?

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13. Are you going to teach me techniques and strategies I can incorporate in my daily life?

14. Will I need a contract?

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